SaaS for e-commerce: £5M funding for Staffordshire startup The Moot Group

Olivia's Image credits: Olivia's

Setting up and growing an e-commerce brand is not the lean process. Staffordshire-based e-commerce technology startup The Moot Group (TMG) wants to make this fragmented process simple. From having to work with dozens of providers – website to logistics to tracking – they provide a unified platform that consolidates the entire process and calls themselves ‘E-commerce as a Service.’ 

Growth and overseas expansion

Now the SaaS startup has secured £5 million in seed funding, led by Fuel Ventures. Their founder, Nick Moutter, tells UKTN that the investment tees us up for the next stage of growth. 

“We will continue to build on our own highly successful interior brands and support our third-party customers with bespoke E-commerce technology. We also have our sights on growing the business overseas too, so watch this space.”

Fuel Ventures, which is an early-stage UK venture capital investing in fast-growing digital tech businesses, also unveiled £45M in funds for early-stage tech startups in the country. As per the company press release, the fund will be distributed in the next 12 months to over 60 early-stage digital startups. At the same time, Fuel Ventures also announced its commitment to extend support to pre-seed companies through this new fund. 

At the same time, Nick is fast becoming one of the UK’s most successful E-commerce and adtech entrepreneurs, having achieved success with his first business Admedo, the unified programmatic marketing platform. Following the investment, TMG welcomes to its advisory board Richard Chapple, former GymShark exec and Founder of The Growth Foundation, and Mark Pearson, of Fuel Ventures. 

In the company press release, Mark Pearson, Founder & Managing Partner at Fuel Ventures said: “We’re delighted to support Nick and the rest of the team at TMG. The growth of the group has been staggering, they are one of the UK’s most exciting and fastest-growing companies.”

How did it all start?

TMG was founded in 2019 as a single homeware brand called Olivia’s. Headquartered in Stafford, Olivia’s is an online furniture retailer that sells home furnishing products, lighting accessories, and more. 

“When starting that business, we needed a whole host of technology and tools. We decided to build most of what we needed from scratch, rather than licensing it so that it was specific for the needs of homeware business,” says Moutter. 

Nick Moutter

This, in turn, helped them acquire the Glasgow-based online furniture retailer Houseology, which went into administration last year. 

He continues, “We knew we could make a success of these companies with the right technology and products to back it up. It soon became apparent that other retailers, not just in homewares, needed us to provide a suite of tools or, as we call it, E-commerce as a service. Many E-commerce businesses just run as online retailers as opposed to a technology-driven pure online brand, so struggle to embrace technology.” 

Lack of streamlined technology while launching Olivia’s in 2019 made him realise that the industry was in dire need of a technology solution. 

“When I launched Olivia’s, the technology was incredibly antiquated. For example, we wanted a track and trace offering – it didn’t exist in a way that we needed it. For me, it was insane that things like this were not readily available for players in the industry. It’s a small thing, but fundamental to creating an easy and streamlined customer journey,” he says to UKTN.  

Right now, the company helps global clients like Sports Direct, Bet365, and The White Company to build and maintain the best online experience for their customers. 

Helping UK’s e-commerce entrepreneurs

TMG is currently helping out the next generation e-commerce entrepreneurs in the UK to scale their products and brands online through their end-to-end solutions. The company generates revenue by taking a small percentage of its client’s revenue. 

Notably, the company is on track to reach £100 million in revenue in 2022 and, growing at 1300%.

Focussing on homewares

During the lockdown, ONS data shows that home and garden spending increased 71% YOY in 2020 – compared to just 1% growth in clothing – and 120% YOY in Q1 2021. 

Capitalising on the trend, Moutter informs, “In terms of our market, we are keeping our focus in terms of our brands in homewares for now, which is a booming sector, ranging from mattresses to shower taps to carpets and curtains.”

He further goes on, “Olivia’s is not only different in terms of its proposition but its setup and processes. Olivia’s operational model, through the use of technology, allows efficiencies that have never been seen before.”

More hiring and expansion to the US on cards

In the coming year, the company is set to hire an additional 30 people to bolster its existing 50-strong team of technologists and e-commerce experts in its offices across Staffordshire, London, and Glasgow. 

“Our teams are experts in all the areas you need to make E-commerce a success, from logistics, brand and performance marketing to operations and customer experience,” concludes Moutter. 

The group will also be expanding its operations into the US this year and plans to open further operations in Europe and the UAE shortly after.